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  1. #41
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Ah, but the truths in fiction and fantasy are oft more truthful than those in nonfiction, where facts can be conveniently sifted to prove one's point...

    When one looks at just one aspect of something like Harry Potter, yes, one could find things to object to. Could it lead some astray? Of course, just like the search for a perpetual motion machine, the quest for alchemic gold through "science," and so on.

    But when one considers the themes of Harry and his friends, there's a much bigger truth. What if adults bury their heads in the sand and refuse to see the evil around them? What if it is the children who are the wise ones--often the case in real life but they are usually powerless. The magic of Harry Potter's world makes it possible for the children to stand up against the forces of darkness, albeit walking into great personal danger which proves fatal to some, to stand up for goodness and freedom. And what is good and what is evil? Can someone be redeemed? The whole character of Snape, followed through the seven volumes, gives us plenty to ponder about who the righteous and unrighteous truly are. Can leaders become so convinced of the rightness of their ways that they are blinded to the real situation (Dumbledore)?

    Think of the parallels to Nazi Germany, how the American citizenry were duped into supporting the war in Iraq, etc., etc. Like the fiction and/or fantasy of Ender's Game, Anna Karinina, Time and Again, 1984, Lord of the Rings, and all great literature, Harry lets us ponder without politics what we might have done, the possible consequences of our own hubris, and the purpose of life.

    Besides they're a great read and anything that gets children to willingly delve into 900 pages has merit in and of itself.

    May we all act on our beliefs as did Dumbledore's Army...
    edcoaching

  2. #42
    Senior Member bronte's Avatar
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    but Dawkins has a go at everybody!! He comes across as overwhelmingly arrogant. It is nothing to do with him being an atheist - I share most of his views on religion - but he absolutely refuses to accept anybody else's different view of the world. He is also patronising and frequently rude - not the attributes Id suggest are ideal for a
    Professor of the Public Understanding of Science - a few social graces would go down well as would the ability to listen to others, and develop balance, rather than shout your views from every platform you can get onto.

    Science cannot answer all of the world's problems - it has created many of these problems - something Dawkins never mentions - I would have a great deal more respect for him if he did.

    Humility is a powerful quality as an educator.
    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou

  3. #43
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GargoylesLegacy View Post
    Uhm, may I? *raises Hand*
    Let me quote myself for a Sec ^^

    But that just for an Input.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Oh yeah? What about the Bible?
    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Think this through.
    Read what I said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Are you serious? No one has weird or bizarre beliefs as a result of reading fantasy books.
    You are all either confusing causes or not reading my post carefully enough. The reason that we would think of fantasy books as 'bad' for people is because we think that they encourage a type of magical thinking in favor of some idea of 'rationality'. Therefore, less of these books = less irrationality. However, if, as I suppose is the case, magical thinking and irrationality are what caused these books to be created in the first place (and don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that fantasy books were made by irrational people...just that if we are going to characterize the underlying mentality for books that deal with 'magic' or fantasy, then it's going to be one that's non-rational rather than rational - I don't mean to attach value to those terms), then getting rid of the books doesn't get rid of the problem.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  4. #44
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    However, if, as I suppose is the case, magical thinking and irrationality are what caused these books to be created in the first place (and don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that fantasy books were made by irrational people...just that if we are going to characterize the underlying mentality for books that deal with 'magic' or fantasy, then it's going to be one that's non-rational rather than rational - I don't mean to attach value to those terms), then getting rid of the books doesn't get rid of the problem.
    I don't think the essential question in Harry Potter is "What if we had access to magic?" Instead, I think it's "What if we recognized evil? Would we have the guts to take a stand against it?"

    The great tomes of fantasy tackle these kinds of questions. The very way the harry books get darker and darker, volume by volume, emphasizes that magic is no easy solution...
    edcoaching

  5. #45
    Senior Member bronte's Avatar
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    Orangery you say: 'The reason that we would think of fantasy books as 'bad' for people is because we think that they encourage a type of magical thinking'

    Is this bad then? Would we have ever had a novelist, poet, artist - a Blake or a Shakespeare, a Joyce or a Michaelangelo without magical thinking?

    This is what troubles me about Dawkins - his fundamentalism about science is almost as scary as the evengelical christians he ridicules (but not quite!)

    The arts help us understand the world and ourselves as much as science does - and the arts are 'irrational' bcause they are about subjective human experience

    So thank God (ha ha ha!) for irrationality!!!
    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou

  6. #46
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    bronte and edcoaching:

    I wasn't addressing whether or not I see fantasy novels as valuable to society or culture (which I do, BTW). I wouldn't advocate getting rid of them at all, because if you had read my post correctly, you would see that I don't attribute the type of dangerous irrationality that you get with, say, religious fundamentalism to the reading of any fantasy book (the Bible included). I was saying that even IF you thought that the type of irrationality present in fantasy books was disquieting (which I don't personally, but which many posters here seem to think), you couldn't attribute the continuation of such thinking to people's having read such books.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  7. #47
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    bronte and edcoaching:

    I wasn't addressing whether or not I see fantasy novels as valuable to society or culture (which I do, BTW). I wouldn't advocate getting rid of them at all, because if you had read my post correctly, you would see that I don't attribute the type of dangerous irrationality that you get with, say, religious fundamentalism to the reading of any fantasy book (the Bible included). I was saying that even IF you thought that the type of irrationality present in fantasy books was disquieting (which I don't personally, but which many posters here seem to think), you couldn't attribute the continuation of such thinking to people's having read such books.
    I wasn't arguing with you at all. I saw your point. I was on my soapbox to all the people in the world who judge books by a few words (unicorn, magic, wizard, witch, etc.) and assume they're the work of the devil. I sometimes have to deal with them in real life. And invariably, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is fine, and maybe even The Wizard of Oz, but nothing else. "Lewis wrote allegory" they say.

    And I reply with the tale of the 4th grade Sunday School Class. The teacher asked, "What's grey, loves nuts, has a bushy tail, and lives in trees." Silence reigns until one child finally mutters, "Well it sounds like a squirrel but I'd better say Jesus..."
    edcoaching

  8. #48
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    I wasn't arguing with you at all. I saw your point. I was on my soapbox to all the people in the world who judge books by a few words (unicorn, magic, wizard, witch, etc.) and assume they're the work of the devil. I sometimes have to deal with them in real life. And invariably, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is fine, and maybe even The Wizard of Oz, but nothing else. "Lewis wrote allegory" they say.

    And I reply with the tale of the 4th grade Sunday School Class. The teacher asked, "What's grey, loves nuts, has a bushy tail, and lives in trees." Silence reigns until one child finally mutters, "Well it sounds like a squirrel but I'd better say Jesus..."
    LOL

    Oh, and I thought you were arguing with me. Sorry about that.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  9. #49
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    As for the Bible...it's much more useful if you look for Truth rather than truth in it...For example

    • Don't expect your leaders to be perfect (Moses the murderer, David the adulterer, Peter the coward, etc.)
    • God gets mad (and who wouldn't when people are so stupid...)
    • Life isn't fair (take a look at what happens to the people God chooses...)
    • Stuck on earth, you don't always get the big picture (like Joseph getting sold into slavery, sitting inprison, etc...)


    Whether anything actually really happened or what God actually said may not be as important as stepping back and thinking about what some of this means for the roles we play...

    Madeleine L'Engle, who wrote A Wrinkle in Time among other bestsellers, once said that she was so glad she never attended Sunday School where they mix up Truth and truth...
    Last edited by edcoaching; 11-08-2008 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Forgot this...
    edcoaching

  10. #50
    Senior Member bronte's Avatar
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    I think I misunderstood you Orangey - but not arguing - debating! and I'm glad you like fantasy novels!

    Dawkins just makes me seeth irrationally because Ive heard him talking about 'ridiculous arts degrees' and 'pretentious social science' and generally belittling anything which isn't rct science

    edcoaching - love the squirrel story and totally agree about the power of fiction to speak to us about some powerful stuff - my 8 year old is reading Potter at the moment and he asks some brilliant questions!
    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou

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